Best Blu-ray Discs For Home Theater Viewing

These Blu-ray Discs Give Your Home Theater System a Workout

As part of my job, I watch a lot of movies to test the audio and video performance of Blu-ray disc players, TVs, video projectors, and receivers. However, not all Blu-ray discs really show off how well a home theater system can perform. Check out a list of some of my current favorites for testing, and pop in one of these titles the next time you'd like to show off your home theater system's capabilities.

NOTE: This list is updated periodically as new Blu-ray discs are released or come to my attention as good examples of video and audio quality.

For more choices, also be sure to also check out my listing of Best 3D Blu-ray discs.

1
The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz - 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc Package
The Wizard of Oz - 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

How can a movie that is over 70 years old be a the top entry on this list? Easy, it was shot in 35mm Technicolor, has been newly-preserved with an 8K resolution (7680x4320 pixels) digital master, and tells a classic story in grand fashion.

The Blu-ray edition of the Wizard of Oz makes itself right at home in your own home theater. Both color (especially the transition from sepia tone to color) and detail (check out the detailed checkerboard pattern on Dorothy's Dress) are outstanding, in fact, better than many of today's films. Also, although the sound quality is dated when compared today's surround sound, you will be surprised how well it does sound. This film reminds us that classic films of years-gone by can hold their own against today's "blockbusters" if treated with care. 35mm film is HD quality after all.

Note: Since this film was made before widescreen was commonly used, you will see black bars on the left and right side of the image, if viewing on a 16x9 TV or video projector. This is correct - do not change the settings to fill the screen, the shapes will be distorted.

2
Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc Package
Ben-Hur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc Package - Photo. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Ben-Hur won 11 academy awards in 1960, and is only one of three movies that have done so, along with Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Now this epic film is available on Blu-ray in both Limited and Standard Editions. Despite it 1959 original theatrical release date, this film not only holds up in time, but the restoration and transfer to Blu-ray makes you think it was just made yesterday.

In addition, the audio, having been originally recorded is revitalized in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 one, with my only suggestion that you turn up your subwoofer one or two db, as the lowest frequencies are more subtle that we are used to today.

Whether you buy the Limited Edition (which also includes a standard definition copy of the 1925 silent version, as well as two hardcover books) or the less expensive Standard Blu-ray Edition, you will experience how a classic film is deserving of the Blu-ray Disc treatment. The only caution is that the film has a very wide 2.76:1 aspect ratio, which means large black bars on the top and bottom of the image, even on a 16x9 TV.

Read Review

Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Limited Edition - Blu-ray Disc - Buy From Amazon

Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Blu-ray Disc - Standard Edition - Buy From Amazon

3
Avatar

Avatar 3D Blu-ray Disc
Avatar 3D Blu-ray Disc. Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

I can't really say more about Avatar than has already been said. However, I will say that it definitely deserves a top spot in your Blu-ray disc library. From the opening space arrival scene to the final battle, this film has it all in terms of a video feast for the eyes and excitement for the ears. Whether watching the 3D or 2D Blu-ray version of this film, the main things to take note of are outstanding black levels (the scene where Jake Sully is trapped in the Jungle at night) and the fantastic color layering in the animals, plants, and landscapes presented in the film.

Also, although the soundtrack isn't the "hit-em-over-the-head" variety, it is a great example of well-blended and properly balanced audio mixing, which makes it the perfect complement for the video presentation. Of course, the best way to watch this film is in 3D - the 3D doesn't push you away, but draws you into the fantastical world of Pandora that James Cameron created.
 

4
Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road -2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Package
Mad Max: Fury Road -2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Simple story, little dialog, lots of action and violence. That sums up Mad Max: Fury Road. However, don't let that description fool you into thinking that this is just one insignificant film, it sets a new benchmark for the action movie genre that will hard to beat - at it looks and sounds great - definitely a worthy entry to this list. Settle in a big screen TV and turn up the volume.

NOTE: Max Max - Fury Road, received six Oscars at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, including: Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Make-Up and Hair Styling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.

Review

5
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation - Blu-ray Disc
Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation - Blu-ray Disc Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

If you like lots of over-the-top (and sometime ridiculous) action movies, Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation. Right out the gate, the film presents an action scene that you think can't be topped - but it is. Of course, to make the action even more convincing the Blu-ray Disc delivers both excellent video and a Dolby Atmos/TrueHD soundtrack that places you inside the action.
Review -

6
San Andreas

San Andreas Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package
San Andreas Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

San Andreas is a great example of how to put a disaster movie on film, the basic thin story and characters aside, this film definitely provides a great workout for your home theater system.

Visually, the detail, along with color balance and contrast range is very good, but in terms of audio, your home theater receiver, subwoofer, and surround speakers will be definitely put to the test, along with the patience of your upstairs or downstairs neighbors (if you have any).

For more details and perspective, read my San Andreas Blu-ray Disc Review.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package - Available On Amazon

3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy - Available On Amazon

DVD Only - Available On Amazon

Amazon Instant Video (rent or buy)

7
Gravity - Diamond Luxe Edition

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Gravity Diamond Luxe Edition Blu-ray Disc. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

This film will be the closest most of us will ever get in experiencing what it is like to be in space. From the blackness of space to incredible views of the Earth's surface, and the claustrophobic space capsule interiors, Gravity delivers one of the most impressive visual and dramatic stories put on film. The Diamond Luxe Edition, spotlight here, is re-issue that has replaced its previous 5.1 channel DTS-Master Audio soundtrack with a much more effective surround sound track that can be heard in either Dolby Atmos or Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (depends on your home theater receiver's capabilities.

Also, there is also some new bonus material, including a documentary on how techniques for making space films has evolved in the last 100 years or so.

Bonus materials carried over from the previous Blu-ray Disc release, include documentary narrated by Ed Harris on the issue of space junk that is crowding near-Earth space, and a short additional scene that shows the other side of a radio communication between Sandra Bullock's character and someone on Earth. Other supplements cover the film's pre-production and production process, as well as some interesting shot breakdowns.

This Blu-ray package is definitely worth the price of admission.

Review - Buy From Amazon

Previous Blu-ray Editions available include:

3D Version with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Soundtrack (Buy From Amazon)
2D Version with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Soundtrack (Buy From Amazon)

8
Iron Man 3

Marvel's Iron Man 3 Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack
Cover Art for the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack. Image provided by Marvel/Disney

If you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Iron Man film series, Iron Man 3 is a Blu-ray disc that really delivers. The story delves into the after-effects of the event of The Avengers on Tony Stark, as well as thrusting a new destructive villain onto the scene.

In addition, in terms video and audio, this disc shines. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel sound track is active and immersive, with excellent balance between the seven channels and subwoofer, and the 1080p video transfer provides excellent detail and very natural color saturation. Also, the bonus features are well worth checking out. Also, don't forget to watch all the way to the end of the final credits for an extra snippet.

Read Review -

9
The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Best Buy Steelbook Edition
The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Best Buy Steelbook Edition. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Despite its long 165 minute running time, the Dark Knight Rises is a faced paced, but fully fleshed out film. For me, the most interesting aspect of the film, character wise, is that both Batman and Catwoman don't really have a lot costumed screen time, but instead we see their real personalities and failings behind the masks.

In terms of visual and audio presentation, Director Christopher Nolan pulls it off. The use of both widescreen and IMAX footage both draws you further into the drama and the action at key points, and, except for a couple of instances, along with a fantastic surround sound audio track, the film provides an excellent home theater viewing experience. The Blu-ray Disc video transfer is excellent and except for a couple directorial decisions, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel audio mix is superb.

Also, the bonus features are top notch. My favorite: the Batmobile documentary.

Even for those that are not superhero movie fans, this is still a great film to add to your collection. The film is available in several packages, including a Dark Knight Trilogy Blu-ray Package that also features Batman Begins and Dark Knight.

Review -

10
The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is definitely a modern classic. Both the story and the production are well-executed. The opening back robbery scene is excellently staged and well photographed. The color and detail are natural, and sound mixing is perfect. In addition, the Dark Knight also lives up to its name in the several excellent night scenes. The night skyline of Gotham City and Hong Kong provide a great test of how well your TV or video projector can render black levels without losing detail. Also, it is important to note that the Dark Knight changes its aspect ratio from 2.40:1 to 1.78:1 in several major action sequences. The reason for this is that portions of the film were shot in IMAX, and the Blu-ray preserves the intent of filmmakers in this area.
 

11
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol Blu-ray Disc Slip Cover (Best Buy Exclusive Edition)
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol Blu-ray Disc Slip Cover (Best Buy Exclusive Edition). Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol brings back the JJ Abrams/Tom Cruise collaboration for an exciting, non-stop, over-the-top, action thriller that will get your blood pumping. The film has been released on Blu-ray in two versions: a two-disc package that comes with a Blu-ray disc, DVD, and access to both standard and Ultraviolet digital copies, but with minimal bonus features, and a three-disc Best Buy exclusive that adds more extensive bonus features. If you can, opt for the Best Buy edition, as the extra bonus features are a real treat.

The film has been transferred to Blu-ray with excellent 1080p video and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel audio, that not only makes for a satisfying viewing experience, but is great demo material to show off what your home theater system is capable of.

The combination of great action thriller, video, audio, and bonus features make this a must-buy for your Blu-ray Disc collection. The only downsides is that no director commentary was provided for the film, except for the deleted scenes feature and the sequences originally filmed in the IMAX format are not shown in true IMAX aspect ratio on the disc.
Read Review - Price for Best Buy Edition - Buy Direct

12
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Edition Blu-ray

If you are looking a great way to give your home theater system are real workout, check out the release of the entire extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on Blu-ray Disc. Each of the three films ( Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King) takes two discs each and features a DTS-HDMaster Audio 6.1 channel soundtrack, along with multiple audio commentaries for each film.

The only downside is that you do have to get up off the couch and change discs about halfway through each film - but we all need a bathroom and refreshment break. Also, an additional nine discs - all DVDs (that is a total of fifteen discs folks) include bonus features that open up the entire world of "middle earth" from conception to screen with extensive interviews and behind the scenes footage. Some features are carried over from the original extended version DVD sets, and some are new for this release.

13
The Star Wars Saga

The entire Star Wars Saga is now available on Blu-ray and is definitely worth the price. The image quality is especially good on the original trilogy, and 6.1 channel surround remix is great. No matter which package you purchase, this is a must own for your Blu-ray collection, not just for the movies, but also for the extensive extra features. Unfortunately, the original theatrical versions of Stars Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are not included.

For an additional preview look at how all the films have been newly tweaked for this Blu-ray release, including aspect ratio framing, color corrections, soundtrack enhancement and the replacement of the "Muppet Yoda" with an all-CGI version in the Phantom Menace, check out the report from Slash Film.

Compare Prices for Episodes I-III (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith).

Compare Prices for Episodes IV - VI (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi).

Compare Prices for the entire Star Wars Saga.

14
American Sniper

American Sniper Blu-ray Disc
American Sniper Blu-ray Disc/DVD/UltraViolet Digital Copy. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The 10th film to be released on Blu-ray Disc with a Dolby Atmos-encoded soundtrack, and having won an Academy Award for best Sound Editing, this film provides a great home theater viewing experience.

On the video side, American Sniper looks great. The camera work provides a unique perspective on how a sniper sees battlefield conditions, most times through the sight of a rifle. Also, objects, buildings, clothing, and vehicle presented in natural color (not oversaturated).

On the audio side, whether you hear in full Dolby Atmos or Dolby TrueHD, the soundfield puts you in the middle of the action, but at the same, is not overly sensationalized. Yes, there are some explosions and lots of gunfire, but it is done with reality in mind. American Sniper is definitely a great test for your home theater system .

Blu-ray Disc Review

15
Unbroken

unbroken-blu-ray-case.jpg
Unbroken Blu-ray Disc/DVD/Digital HD Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Unbroken is the true-life inspiring story of Louis Zamperini, WWII hero, as brought to the screen by Director Angelina Jolie. The film explores the childhood and WWII experiences of Zamperini in a realistic fashion, with an excellent script, well-directed cast, and cinematography. The film is also mixed in Dolby Atmos, but also contains a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 downmixes for those that do not have a Dolby Atmos setup.

The film is also visually stunning with excellent color and detail - definitely a great addition to your Blu-ray Disc Collection.

Blur-ay Disc Review -

16
Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim 2D Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Best Buy Edition Package
Pacific Rim Blu-ray Disc - Photo of Slipcover. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

In the tradition of Japanese Kaiju films and Mecha Anime, Guillermo del Toro delivers a tour-de-force monster film that delivers on all fronts on Blu-ray Disc.

The film is visually stunning, despite the pro-ponderous of dark scenes. Both DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and 5.1 channel soundtracks are provided that are active and immersive, with excellent balance between the seven channels and subwoofer. In addition, the bonus features are not be missed - if you like commentaries, director Guillermo del Toro provides detailed insight into the film that is still entertaining to listen to, and the rest of bonus features go into even more detail on how the film was put together, and the Best Buy Exclusive package includes an additional look at the giant robots designed for the film. This one great Blu-ray disc package that puts your home theater system to the test.

Read Review -

17
John Wick

john-wick-blu-ray.jpg
John Wick Bl-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

If you are looking for a film that has lots of style, combined with intense R-rated action, that really gives you home theater system a sonic workout, then John Wick may be a Blu-ray Disc that deserves a space in your collection.

The film stars Keanu Reeves as a former hitman that has left his profession for a happier, mainstream, life, but an unfortunate turn of events force him to return to the seedy underbelly of New York City's hitman culture. Without giving away to much, let's just say that bullets fly and blood splashes with methodically staged fight choreography that is very well done.

Also, as an added bonus, this disc is mastered in Dolby Atmos. So, those that have a Dolby Atmos setup can experience a fully immersive soundtrack. However, even if you don't, your Blu-ray disc player will automatically provide either a Dolby TrueHD 7.1, 5.1, or >Dolby Digital 5.1 real-time downmix, depending on the capabilities of your home theater setup. your home theater setup.
Review
 

18
Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy

Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy Blu-ray Disc Package - Photo of Front Cover
Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy Blu-ray Disc Package - Photo of Front Cover. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Give your home theater system a real workout with some great Dinosaur fun. The Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy Blu-ray Disc package is a perfect addition to your Blu-ray disc library. The Ultimate Trilogy package includes restored full high-definition 1080p video, and remastered 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, for all three films in the series (Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park III), and hours of great supplementary material to satisfy any die-hard fan.
Review -

19
Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Transformers: Age of Extinction - 3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Are you looking a movie that will push your home theater system to the limits? - Then check out Transformers: Age of Extinction

The film is available on Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D, but if you have a 3D TV, the 3D version is a must - the 3D video presentation is excellent, with sufficient brightness, minimal haloing, and excellent details.

However, whether you purchase the 2D or 3D version there is another bonus of the disc that makes it worth it - A Dolby Atmos-encoded soundtrack.

Obviously, to get the full benefits of Dolby Atmos you need a compatible home theater receiver and some additional speakers. However, you don't need to have a Dolby Atmos setup or special Blu-ray Disc player to play this disc.

For those that do not have a Dolby Atmos setup, when you go into the Blu-ray Disc audio setup menu - still select Dolby Atmos, and your Blu-ray Disc player will detect what surround sound options are available on your home theater receiver. If non-Dolby Atmos equipped home theater receiver is detected, a real-time downmix to either Dolby TrueHD 7.1 or 5.1 is applied. What this does is reassign all of the directional, height, and ambiance information contained in the Dolby Atmos soundtrack and place it within your 5.1 or 7.1 channel setup parameters. Also, if your receiver is not compatible with Dolby Atmos or TrueHD, you can still select the Dolby Digital 5.1 option or let your Blu-ray Disc player set it by default.

The Dolby True HD downmix is still immersive and spacious, with objects placed at points in space similar to a true Atmos mix (helicopters and drones are the best examples), but lacking some of the location preciseness and, of course, some loss of the height channel experience that Dolby Atmos can provide.

Transformers: Age of Extinction 3D Blu-ray Disc Review.

3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package - Buy From Amazon.

2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Limited Edition Package - Buy From Amazon.

2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Steelbook Edition (Best Buy Exclusive) - Buy Direct.

20
Jaws

Jaws Blu-ray Disc - Slip Cover - Front View
Jaws Blu-ray Disc - Slip Cover - Front View. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

After years of waiting, Jaws has now finally arrived on Blu-ray, and it was definitely worth the weight. The Steven Spielberg classic is presented in a two-disc package which contains both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film, along with access to standard and Ultraviolet digital copies.

The video and audio have been meticulously remastered and transferred to Blu-ray that results in a home theater viewing experience that superior that the original theatrical presentation.

In addition, the Blu-ray disc serves up an abundance of relevant bonus features that takes through the entire history of Jaws, from the beginnings of the novel, through the uncertainty as to if the film would ever be successfully made, to its landmark as the first true Summer blockbuster, to how it is still celebrated today.

Read Review -

21
Marvel's The Avengers

The Avengers 3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
The Avengers 3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. Image Provided by Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios

Even if you are not a comic book fan, you have to experience Marvel's The Avengers on your home theater system. The video and quality of this disc is top notch - especially if you have a set that reproduces black levels well. On the audio side, your speakers and subwoofer will definitely get a great workout with well-executed surround effects and driving bass.

The Blu-ray the disc is available in both 2D and 3D, however, the 3D version does have some instances of crosstalk (minimized on sets that use the passive 3D viewing system).

The Blu-ray 2D and 3D discs feature the MPEG-4 MVC video codec and are presented in full 1080p resolution at a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (English). DTS-HD HR 7.1 (French)

Also, if you are fan of bonus features there are plenty for you to dig into, including a short film (preview clip) introducing some new characters for possible future TV series or film.

Blu-ray Four Disc Combo Pack (3D, 2D, DVD, Digital Copy) - Buy From Amazon

Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Buy From Amazon

Vendor's Site - Target Exclusive: Extra 90-minute Bonus Disc available for both the Blu-ray 3D/2D/DVD combo pack.

Vendor's Site - Walmart Exclusive Blu-ray/DVD with Graphic Novel

22
The Incredibles

The Incredibles is simply "incredible". Pixar not only deftly weaves a multi-layered commentary on life, achievement, and responsibility, but delivers the whole thing in a form that appeals to all members of the family. Of course, the added bonus is that the Blu-ray edition will knock your socks off with its 2.40 widescreen high-def transfer and excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel audio track.

23
Star Trek (2009)

Just about everyone likes Star Trek, but let's face it, it was aging franchise, that is, until JJ Abrams arrived. Even if you are not a Star Trek fan, this movie delivers on all cylinders, from the opening battle to the ending that bridges the classic with the new. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio widescreen transfer presents an epic adventure the way it deserves to be presented. As far audio goes, the soundtrack is a great example how to balance sound. The dialog is not lost on the effects and the effects a well layered and realistic. In all, this disc makes for a great home theater demo.
 

24
Transporter 3

Why is Transporter 3 on this list? OK, it is not what I would consider a classic or groundbreaking in terms of filmmaking. It is simply one good roller-coaster ride of an action movie. However, the reason I have this movie on this list is that it is ​a great example of how well Blu-ray Disc can render color and detail. The prime example of good detail reproduction are the scenes that feature close-ups of Jason Statham and Natalya Rudakova. Ms Rudakova has a very freckled face and the detail is so good, you can easily see the individual freckles.

Even if you are not a fan of high-octane action movies with lots of hand-to-hand combat, this disc is worth having on the shelf just to impress on your friends what they are missing by not having Blu-ray. If anyone tells you that there isn't any difference between DVD and Blu-ray, this is one disc that will shut them up.

25
Iron Man

Iron Man is one great fun movie. Even if you are not a fan of comic-book films, you will like this one. It is one of a select group of films that really makes you want to cheer for the hero. Robert Downey Jr. pulls this one off with style. In addition, the audio and video on this Blu-ray Disc release will also make you want to cheer. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio captures the film's scope perfectly, and the color and detail are definitely demo quality. Of course, in this type of film, you need great sound, and Iron Man really, really, delivers great surround sound.

26
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers - Dark of the Moon 3D Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc - Photo of Disc Case
Transformers - Dark of the Moon 3D Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc - Photo of Disc Case. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The Transformers movie franchise is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, the movies are long, the action is never-ending, and sometimes it is hard to follow who is fighting who (or, in this case, what is fighting what)...However, all that aside, the latest installment: Transformers: Dark of the Moon is both a visual feast and has one the most effective surround sound tracks I have heard, which earns it a place on this list of top Blu-ray Discs that put your home theater system to the test.

This film takes full advantage of its 7.1 Channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, starting from the opening titles. There is liberal use of the surround channels that really helps to immerse you into the film. I am sure that was part of the concept, as the film was present theatrically in 3D and the heavy surround channel use would definitely add to a 3D viewing experience.

Unfortunately, this initial Blu-ray release is only available in 2D, but I am looking forward to the forthcoming 3D Blu-ray release to find out how well the surround activity really does mesh with the 3D visuals. However, that aside, Transformers: Dark of the Moon on 2D Blu-ray is definitely worth it, if you want to hear how well surround can be executed.

27
Megamind

Although Megamind is not that impressive with regards to story line, and the video transfer to Blu-ray is not exceptional, this disc is still worth your consideration, especially if you have a 7.1 channel surround sound system. Megamind is the first Blu-ray Disc release to incorporate a full 7.1 Channel encoded soundtrack in the Dolby TrueHD surround sound format. So, if you have a Blu-ray Disc player and a 7.1 channel home theater receiver with Dolby TrueHD decoding, or a Blu-ray Disc player and home theater receiver with 7.1 channel analog audio connections, you are in for a real surround sound treat. NOTE: This entry refers to the 2D version of the film, the 3D version will be released on Blu-ray at a later date.

28
Battle Los Angeles

Battle Los Angeles will not a get any screen writing or acting awards. If you missed it at the local cinema, think of a combination of Black Hawk Down, Independence Day, and War of the Worlds, with a sprinkling of every WWII movie ever made, all combined into a loud, unrelenting action movie. Except for a brief intro (very brief), the action starts and doesn't stop. However, despite its flaws in script and acting, Battle Los Angeles is a feast of sight and sound. The image quality is fantastic, with a seamless blend of CGI and live action - you will be convinced that Los Angeles is being destroyed. Also, make sure your subwoofer is up to the task.

29
Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes - Game of Shadows Blu-ray Only Edition
Sherlock Holmes - Game of Shadows Blu-ray Only Edition. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Robert Downey Jr returns to his other "action hero" persona, Sherlock Holmes, in A Game of Shadows. In this outing, Detective Holmes has to stop his most cunning and ruthless adversary, Professor Moriarty, from starting a war that will engulf all of Europe. In addition, Holmes has to come to terms with the fact that his trusted partner, Dr Watson, is getting married - definitely causing a case of separation anxiety.

Although the film has a somewhat convoluted script, the Blu-ray Disc presentation features both demo quality audio and video. The film is available in three different edition packages, a Blu-ray only edition with minimal bonus features, and both a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook Edition that contains additional bonus features. All three editions provide access to an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film.
Read Review
 

30
The Expendables 3

espendables-3-blu-ray-ray-disc-package.jpg
The Expendables 3 Blu-ray Disc Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Forget the story, forget the acting, just sit down with a large bowl of popcorn and enjoy all the action from 17 action heroes. That is the essence of the third entry in The Expendables film franchise.

The film is available on Blu-ray in both a theatrical or extended edition (in the same Blu-ray disc package).

The video presentation is excellent - natural color, excellent contrast, and details.

However, the main feature is the surround sound track, which is mastered in Dolby Atmos. However, even if you don't have a Dolby Atmos setup, your Blu-ray disc player will automatically provide either a Dolby TrueHD 7.1, 5.1, or Dolby Digital 5.1 real-time downmix, depending on the capabilities of your home theater setup.

The Dolby True HD downmix is immersive and spacious, with objects placed at points in space similar to a true Atmos mix (helicopters, explosions, etc...), but lacking some of the location preciseness and, of course, some loss of the height channel experience that Dolby Atmos can provide. However, no matter what surround sound format you hear it, this film with give your system a good workout.

The Expendables 3 Blu-ray Disc Review.

Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package - Buy From Amazon.

DVD with Digital Copy - Buy From Amazon

31
Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians 2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo - Slipcover - Front View
Photo the Rise of the Guardians 2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Package - Slipcover - Front View. Photo © Robert Silva Licensed to About.com

The creators of How to Train Your Dragon bring us an interesting look at the lives of some of our favorite mythical beings, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, Jack Frost, and the Boogeyman, with the film Rise of the Guardians.

Although it was only a modest box-office success, it is definitely worth viewing on Blu-ray. Rise of the Guardians, won the 2012 Hollywood Animation Award and was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film.

The 1080p Blu-ray transfer is excellent. The animation is extremely complex and detailed, with vibrant color and well-defined gray tones and deep black levels, and even the 2D version has a lot of depth and texture.

Rise of the Guardians was originally mixed for theatrical presentation in both 64-channel Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround 7.1 and has been translated to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for Blu-ray with excellent results.

In my opinion, Rise of the Guardians provides a very enjoyable home theater viewing and listening experience.
Review - Buy From Amazon

Also Available:

3-Disc 3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD Package - Includes Digital and UltraViolet Copies Buy From Amazon

2 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Includes Two Hopping Eggs - Buy From Amazon

1 Disc DVD-Only Pack - Buy From Amazon

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Oz The Great and Powerful (2D version)

Oz The Great and Powerful 2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy - Slipcover - Front View
Photo the Oz The Great and Powerful 2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy - Slipcover - Front View. Photo © Robert Silva Licensed to About.com

The unlikely pairing of Evil Dead and Spiderman franchise Director Sam Raimi, and Walt Disney Studios, bring you Oz The Great and Powerful, the second journey to Oz since Disney's first attempt, 1985's Return to Oz. This film tells the story of how the Wizard came to be, and how the witches developed their good or evil personas.

The 1080p Blu-ray transfer is excellent. The production is extremely complex and detailed, with vibrant color and well-defined gray tones and deep black levels, and the 2D version has a lot of depth and texture.

On the audio front, composer Danny Elfman but his mark on a great soundtrack, and the foley-generated sound effects provide an excellent surround sound experience.

In my opinion, Oz The Great and Powerful provides an enjoyable home theater viewing and listening experience, but doesn't have the magic of the original 1939 classic.
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3D Blu-ray/Digital Copy - Buy From Amazon

33
Battleship

Battleship Blu-ray Disc - Photo of Disc Case - Front View
Battleship Blu-ray Disc - Photo of Disc Case - Front View. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

OK, I will come right out and say that the plot and script are kind of lacking, but, on the other hand, the movie Battleship on Blu-ray is one of best discs to demonstrate the audio capabilities and video performance your home theater system. The DTS-Master Audio 5.1 channel soundtrack is both aggressive and well defined, and the video transfer is one of the cleanest examples of the integration of CGI and live action available on Blu-ray disc to date. Also, the bonus features, especially a tour of the real-life Battleship U.S.S. Missouri, are definitely worth your time.
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34
Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World

I will admit that the video quality of the Master and Commander disc is not the best example of how well a Blu-ray Disc can look, but it is a great example of how well Blu-ray can sound. The best example here is the sea battle in which Russell Crowe's ship gets torn apart. The scene starts eerily quiet, then a flash in the fog is seen. Next is several minutes of chaos with wood splinters flying everywhere, shouting, and cannon fire. However, what makes this scene really a sonic delight is a short sequence that takes place below deck and you hear panicked crew members running on the deck above you. This is a great example of well-executed surround sound, and if you have a setup that includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz or Yamaha Presence, this scene has even more impact, making for one great demo segment.

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